By: Steve Russell | Director, Marketing & External Relations
Two years ago I found myself sitting in a small waffle house in Denver, Colorado at 9am. I had flown in from Indiana the night before to spend some quality time with family and friends. I had one thing standing in my way – I was doing a favor for a friend at UW, waiting to have a meeting with a man that I had never even met before. This didn’t exactly seem like a place I would be running into any C-level executives or co-founders of successful businesses. I sat in a wobbly chair and set my elbow on the table in a puddle of syrup. The waitress even gave me a funny look when she noticed me walk in wearing a suit. What was I doing here?
A man walked in wearing slacks, a nice sweater, comfy loafers, and the biggest and friendliest smile I had ever seen. I knew that I would enjoy this meeting regardless of its outcome and I immediately reminded myself I needed to thank my friend for suggesting this meeting. The man walked over and introduced himself with a strong handshake and nothing more than, “Hi, I’m Frank. Have you been waiting long?”
Little did I understand how privileged I was to meet with Frank Mendicino. Looking back on it now, I would have waited hours to have the conversation that we had that day and any of the conversations that have followed since then. The way he spoke about the University of Wyoming wasn’t the way alumni reminisce about days long since passed. He spoke about UW like he was standing on the front line ready to battle; ready to make UW the best place it could be. He wasn’t having this meeting to demand something of me. He was wondering how he could contribute and what his commitment could do for the students at the University of Wyoming College of Business.
Frank Mendicino will be honored with the UW Medallion Service Award this year for the commitments he has made time and time again to our university, but his character throughout all of his commitments is something never to be overlooked. The Medallion Service Award, given each year by the Alumni Association, recognizes friends and supporters of UW that have given their time, talent, or support to the university AND are a person of Integrity and Stature. In those two words, V. Frank Mendicino II has never been described more accurately.
“I am delighted that the Alumni Association is honoring Frank with the Medallion Service Award. His unwavering commitment to UW and COB and his selfless service to this institution are shining examples of continued alumni engagement. We are fortunate to count Frank among our staunchest supporters and are very proud to call him our own. My colleagues and I thank Frank and Barbara for all they have done for us and look forward to working closely with them in the future.” – Dean Sanjay Putrevu
Frank Mendicino II (B.S. in Business Administration ’62; J.D. ’70; Honorary Doctor of Law ’05) is the co-founder and partner at Access Venture Partners. With offices in Westminster, Colorado and Austin, Texas, AVP is an early stage, high technology venture capital fund. Since its formation in 1999, Access Venture Partners has invested in over 65 companies which collectively have raised over $1 billion in equity capital and employed nearly 4,000 people. He has served on the board of directors of over 25 private companies, is a former board member of the Wyoming Business Council and even represented the State of Wyoming as the Attorney General.
Despite how busy he is, Frank currently serves on the College of Business Advisory Board and the UW Foundation Board. The Mendicino family also recently endowed a Professorship in Sales and Sales Leadership within the College of Business. His involvement across the University of Wyoming campus is a true testament to his character and it stems from a deep level of appreciation for the education he and his wife both received here.
“Barbara and I have been involved in many university-related organizations and activities over the years…When people thank us for the things we do, we always respond that we have received more than we have given. Being an alumnus of UW is a lifetime commitment and a source of pride, connectivity, and fun.”
“What has always impressed me about the Mendicino family is the humility with which they serve. As department chair and interim dean, I came to appreciate what commitment to one’s alma mater really means, and Frank and Barbara stand out as model citizens. Frank served his fellow students as ASUW President in 1963, and his commitment to students – past, current and future – has never stopped. The Alumni Medallion honors his service, but our students are the true beneficiaries of his commitment to UW.” – John Mittelstaedt, Professor of Marketing.
People with true character use their resources to pave the way for others to succeed. You may have never heard of Frank Mendicino until today, but he doesn’t need you to – His success is represented in every person left standing in the footprint of a great program at UW, a class taught by a professor who had the resources they needed, or a new building that our exceptional students call home.
You really never know who you could meet at a small waffle house…One breakfast could be the difference in your life or in your career. I know it was for me.
The College of Business will host a reception recognizing V. Frank Mendicino II on Friday, October 16 from 3:30-5:00p.m. in the Jonah Bank Atrium. I hope to see you all there.